Print Edition: June 19, 2013
A sigh of relief escaped my lungs when I heard the news: everyone’s favourite frontrunner Dan Harmon is set to return for Community’s fifth season. While there has been some debate over how crucial Harmon is to the magic of Community, I personally noticed a loss of flair during last season.
If I had to sum up my feelings on our most recent adventures into the zany world of Greendale I’d call it less organic. Many fans noticed the difference with discomfort, whereas others took it as an opportunity to get on their soapboxes and denounce the missing creator entirely. Critically, the season was met with more mixed reviews than the usual high acclaim it garners. Phrases like “hit-and-miss” and “lukewarm” have been thrown around a lot. Naysayers can act like it didn’t make a difference to Community when Harmon left, but the near cult fan following and critics agree: Community and Harmon go together like Troy and Abed.
Harmon announced his return before the papers had been officially signed, speaking volumes to his own enthusiasm about returning to Greendale. Some fans have proclaimed they will refer to season four as “the lost season” or part of “the darkest timeline,” but Harmon isn’t planning on picking up from where he left off.
“I don’t think it would be very Community of me to negate anything. Season three was weird, season two was weird, season one was weird; they’re all weird,” he told E! News. “So if season four was weird in a different way, [it’s] season five’s job is to reveal that all four of those weird things add up to some weird hip-hop dance that when you put it on a loop, you go, ‘Oh, I get it!’”
It’s refreshing to hear that Harmon is seeing this as an opportunity to be creative and tie it all together, as opposed to laughing at the work done on his (what is being referred to by some as) “forced sabbatical.” I personally have never heard of a creator being fired after bad blood and then reinstated. I hope the focus will remain on the positive possibilities of reuniting the Community family, and not on the ugliness that resulted in the changes in the first place.
After a very public fight with actor Chevy Chase, and not achieving the ratings his superiors at NBC were asking of him, Harmon was shut out of the show he hand-raised with his authority being cut down to a “consulting producer.” The fourth season was put on indefinite hiatus before finally returning for a lacklustre and shortened season. Fans have been waiting patiently for this news, and it’s finally here, and official. Several Facebook groups are dedicated to the sole purpose of discussing why they want Harmon back on Community, and there are plenty of reasons, memorable quotes, hilarious gags and endearing character moments to back them up.
Personal favourite moments of Harmon’s reign include (but are not limited to) the Beetlejuice Easter egg where, after being recited three times in three different seasons, a man dressed up as the character walks by in the background, Abed’s Batman impression, Annie’s Boobs, parallel earths in the mock UN episode and resulting Annie’s tantrum, the Jeff and Shirley foosball past tie-in, and, of course, the paintball finales. I could really go on and on about how awesome, smart and funny I think Community is and how I have high hopes for Harmon’s return, but I’d just be explainabragging all over the place.